South African energy and chemicals company Sasol Ltd. today announced that it will conduct a feasibility study for a “world scale” ethylene cracker and derivatives complex near Lake Charles, Louisiana. Such an investment could be worth up to $4.5 billion, the company said.
As the second largest chemical producing state, with 23,000 chemical industry employees, Louisiana is well-positioned to take advantage of the lower feedstock costs that arise from new supplies of domestic natural gas.
In a news release, Sasol CEO David Constable hinted at the magnitude of the growth opportunity for the state, his company and the industry, saying:
We believe strategic growth in chemicals will take full advantage of the natural-gas opportunities along the U.S. Gulf coast and the anticipated growth will strengthen Sasol’s overall portfolio.
Indeed, the economic potential is huge. According to a recent ACC report, a $5.4 billion investment in expanded ethylene capacity in Louisiana would generate more than 35,000 permanent, high-paying jobs in the chemical industry and supply chain, $11 billion in chemical industry output, $2.3 billion in Louisiana wages and $399 million in state tax revenue.
Today’s announcement is another exciting sign of a “renaissance” in America’s chemistry industry. Access to shale gas can dramatically boost U.S. competitiveness and help meet our nation’s goals for increased exports and new jobs.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 30, 2011
Sasol Announces Feasibility Study to Build an Ethylene Cracker Complex
Johannesburg — South African energy and chemicals company Sasol today announced that it has approved a feasibility study for a world scale ethylene cracker and derivatives complex. The study is focused on opportunities at Sasol’s North America operating site in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Sasol CEO, David Constable, said the board’s approval of the study is an important next step in the growth of Sasol’s chemicals business.
“We believe strategic growth in chemicals will take full advantage of the natural gas opportunities along the US Gulf Coast and the anticipated growth will strengthen Sasol’s overall portfolio,” Constable said.
It is envisaged that the cracker will produce between 1 million and 1,4 million tons of ethylene per annum. Current estimates are that a cracker and derivatives complex, of this size, will cost between US$3,5 billion to US$4,5 billion.
The feasibility study is expected to be complete during the first half of 2013.
Sasol is a technology-driven alternative fuels and chemicals company and was formed in 1950 in Sasolburg.
Sasol converts gas and coal into liquid fuels, fuel components and chemicals through our proprietary GTL processes. We mine coal in South Africa, produce gas in Mozambique, oil in Gabon and shale gas in Canada. We have chemical manufacturing and marketing operations in South Africa, Europe, Asia and America.
We continue to advance our upstream oil and gas activities in Mozambique, Nigeria, Gabon, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Canada and South Africa.
We are focused on commercialising our gas–to-liquids (GTL) and coal-to-liquids (CTL) technology internationally. In partnership with Qatar Petroleum we started our first international GTL plant, Oryx GTL, in 2007. Sasol is also exploring GTL opportunities in Uzbekistan, the US and Canada.
Sasol operates in more than 35 countries and employs about 33 700 people worldwide. We are listed on the JSE Limited in South Africa and on the New York Stock Exchange in the United States of America.
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